Amazon Now 15 Years Old, Most Other Websites Not So Lucky

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Amazon made its first sale 15 years ago today.

Esquire is marking this anniversary with a funny look back at other great websites that haven't made it to Amazon's hoary old age. In San Francisco, even in 2004, everyone had a personal story about how they almost made it big with startup X or website Y. Hell, even cab drivers would tell you about how they used to hang out with dotcom millionaires, who would pay them extravagantly to stay up all night waiting to drive a gaggle of 20-year-old coders to Denny's. Oh, what a time.

In any case, here's Esquire's list, which brings all kinds of warm memories flooding back to me:

  1. Online retailers that promised to deliver to your door: Kozmo, Webvan, Urbanfetch
  2. File-sharing site Audiogalaxy
  3. Tone-setting magazines: Feed, Suck
  4. Internet TV network Pseudo
  5. Foursquare-predecessor Dodgeball
  6. Social network Six Degrees
  7. Online, text-based multiplayer games known as MUDs and MUSHs
  8. Voyeurism feeding teen girl site JenniCam
  9. Online currency play Beenz
  10. Web host Geocities 
  11. Prodigy
  12. The Internet Yellow Pages
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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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